Tuesday, January 10, 2006

That Was a Crazy Hand of Poker: Part II

I'm going to revisit my post about wacky 10-way action yesterday, as I'm still not sure I have my brain completely wrapped around the concept I was trying to get at, that I hadn't faced before.

After everyone limps in and the BB raises, I think re-raising with 10c9c is close to a no-brainer. I know it looks odd, but suited connectors thrive in large, multiway pots, and you can't be scared of building those pots yourself pre-flop. 10 players in for 3 bets each is about as large and multiway as you can get, pre-flop. You're going to immediately dump your hand on the flop a large percentage of the time, true, but the pots you build by playing aggressively pre-flop more than make up for it, when you do win. I know, it's bothersome and looks odd, but this is one of those things I consistently saw better players doing pre-flop that I struggled with a long time before coming around to that way of thinking.

(My original limp with 10c9c out of position is bad, though, as too much has to happen after me for that to be correct.)

My turn/river play is really weak. Guilty as charged. I suck.

Stepping back a bit, though, it's hard to conjure up a scenario where I'm ahead the entire hand. What spooked me the most is the likelihood of KQ being out there, with ten players in the hand, and the general tendency for the table to passively limp in pre-flop. KQ (suited or not) has to be in the top 3 of hands that passive players love to limp with, so the odds seemed to be great it was out there, with someone waiting to raise the turn if it was a non-diamond.

The BB is also troublesome, as it's hard to put him on a non-fearsome hand that he'd raise into nine people pre-flop with, but not cap when I re-raise. He likely doesn't have KK or AA, but could very well have AKs, AQs, AJs, QQ, JJ, 1010, 99, or 88. None of those make me too happy, although the first four aren't too troublesome, as many of his outs are likely counterfeited with everyone in.

The fact that everyone just calls my flop bet, in my mind, increases the likelihood that I'm behind, and that someone is waiting to pop it on the turn, especially a turn that doesn't put three to a diamond flush out there.

That said, yeah, I have to bet the turn and see what happens. Boo, me.

Ditto for the river. Cross the raising bridge when I come to it. Boo, me.

But here's my real question, and what I think I was trying to get at. And the fact that I don't know the answer may expose a huge gap in my understanding of poker, but so be it, you only learn by asking questions sometimes.

Let's pretend that on the turn the following is true, as far as the likelihood of each player ultimately winning the hand:

Hero: 20% chance of winning.
Villain #1: 22%
Villain #2: 12%
Villain #3: 8%
Villain #4: 8%
Villain #5: 6%
Villain #6: 6%
Villain #7: 6%
Villain #8: 6%
Villain #9: 6%

There's $200 in the pot at that point. It's checked to me. I'm a slight underdog to win the hand. If I bet $10, everyone will have the correct odds to call the $10 bet. Betting will not increase my odds of winning the pot, as everyone will call and the percentages will remain unchanged.

That said, I'm a significant favorite over all but one player, contesting a big pot. In this scenario (a favorite over the vast majority of the field but still behind, and unable to improve my chances of winning by forcing players with insufficient odds to make a bad call), do I want:

A) As much money to go into the pot as possible
B) As little money to go into the pot as possible

That's my real question.

It's an odd case as it's a bit different from situations where you aggressively play what's likely a second-best hand in a big pot, in an attempt to drive out other players and improve your odds of winning. While it's still a second best hand, the increased odds of winning if successful in driving other players out is worth playing the second-best hand fast and raising.

Okay, so I broke down and got all the calculator and scratch paper and yeah, I'm a doofus. The obvious correct answer is A. You win way more than enough to make up for the fact that you're a slight dog, so the bigger the pot the better. It's actually good for you in that situation that people have correct odds to call, as it simply builds a bigger pot that you win 20% of the time.

If I'm 10% to win, I'm close to break even as far as ultimate net profit, assuming I bet the turn, get raised, and call along with a decent number of folks, and then call a river bet as well, along with a decent number of folks. And with KQ out there and a reasonable selection of other hands (flush draws and some low pocket pairs, straight draws, etc.) I'm 10.71% to win on the turn. So in the actual hand I don't even necessarily hate a raise from a slow-played KQ, as I'm not setting money on fire by betting/calling. I don't gain EV by raising and getting more money in, but neither do I hate money going in.

In the real world, though, betting out on the turn/river would have cleared out some people, likely even hands that had sufficient odds to draw to their two outers, thus improving my odds of winning, so a bet is definitely in order.

Resisting the urge to delete this, as I likely should have already known the answer to the above question, but hey, like GI Joe said, knowing is half the poker battle. Which I guess leaves occasionally looking stupid at about 25%, getting lucky at about 12.5%, and sheer stubborn determinedness clocking in at 12.5% as well.


Unknown said...

And I wouldn't raise with JJ, TT, or 99 in LP pre-flop (in limit) with everyone calling behind.

Maybe I'm too passive, but that seems like a waste of money since the blinds and everyone else would have more then ample odds to call and anything besides a set would mean to shut down.

Alan said...

I agree with your new analysis. If everyone is chasing draws then you are getting fantastic odds just on the bets. Even if half the people fold (which would be a good thing IMHO) you are still getting odds. Heck, even if V#1 is the only person in the hand you still aren't far behind.

Semi-Pro Poker Player said...

At a loose (and I'm assuming) and passive table, limping in with T9s is fine. As long as you don't think 3-betting the BB is going to fold people out preflop, I think that's a good move, too. T9s is going to win more than its share in a multi-way pot.

If you are around a 20% favorite (very likely and it could be higher) to win the hand when the turn card fell, then you want to get money into the pot by betting because you do have an edge in pot equity against 9 opponents. Having the equity edge is exactly when you want to get money into the pot.

And if you actually get someone to fold (which would actually be wrong in almost all cases for anyone to do it in this mega-sized pot) your equity should go up. If you run into KQ, so be it. You have sufficient pot odds to draw to that boat.

Jonathan said...

I'm not playing at your level, but I think you did the right thing on the flop and turn, especially since you said that the table is passive. Anyone with a flush draw is staying in, you're just sweetening the pot for them.

There's an argument to be made for raising in hopes of thinning the field, but I really don't think that you get rid of anyone with any legitimate draw and as you said, it's quite possible you're behind (KQ, JT, JJ, TT, 87) and have 4 or less outs. You're also very vulnerable to redraws. If AA or KK or QQ is in, an A, K, Q or J beats you.

It's also a great flop to bluff at. Given that flop, you might run into two people bluffing at it and that prices you out. What you have is worth checking and calling one bet, but not two when you might get sandwiched.

Going for a value bet on the river is also problematic. At that point you have to at least call, but anyone with KQo has good reason to check the turn and see if the flush makes it. You have the issue with getting sandwiched, but at least it's only one round of betting.

- jwilkins/atari1976

Heafy said...

Luck at 12.5%? Shit, I've been playing the wrong game!

Never-Limp said...

Hey Drizz, raising with a pair in LP there is actually +EV. It's a good value raise for the set.

Svend-Erik Kolding said...

"Never-Limp said...

Hey Drizz, raising with a pair in LP there is actually +EV. It's a good value raise for the set. "

Well, depends how many limpers you are looking at. If more than 7, id raise for value (hitting your set on the flop is slightly worse than 1:7).